Aging, Regard, and Love

I’ve written on this subject before, but I have more to say on the matter. Why? Because it’s there running around inside of me. And, of course, where am I (?) not far from becoming 95, an age I never thought I’d get to and what comes with those years. So I’m finding out, and in the process, I’ll share what is taking place. Also, be sure, I have no idea where this is taking me (and us.)

Having to deal with physical stuff is probably one of the conditions common to aging. My problem is retaining liquid, but being under a good Dr’s care, I’m taking certain drugs that control the retention, which seems to be working. That’s a good thing because I’m sleeping well and enjoying the comfort of our bed. My difficulty is finding air, but only when I exercise, including extensive walking or stationary biking.

I must share with you that Stacy and Willy visited us and ended up giving us a new TV! One that provides us with everything a modern TV can offer its audience. We are blessed, thrilled, and feel so well cared for and watched over. Having relationships as we do with so many fills us with “family” love.

This is no small issue with us. We so appreciate the many that touch us with love and concern for our wellbeing. This sense of connection and reality nurtures us and has much to do with how we live.

When we worked with children and young college staff, we never did what we did to be given back. We gave our all because it was required and never because we thought about what would be returned to us. Our only thought was to be there for their betterment. That was all that ever counted, and it was also what so many of you did.

So, we age and live with what so many of you gave and continue to give us—regard and love. There is no question that is why we are the age we are and can look forward to many more years.

I am my age now———-I am not younger, older———-just my age, happy.
Loving gives so much———-How lucky to know this truth——–Our experience.

Sy

Hello to all

There are times when topics flood me, and writing one-page papers comes to me easily. This is a time when writing on any given subject challenges me. In this case, I seek the help of others. So, if there is a subject you have in mind for me, please make the suggestion. I’ll try to make it happen.

IT is why I filled a page of Haikus for a recent paper. They are easy for me to write. Those brief sayings are fun to capture. If you’ve not tried, give it a try. 

In the meantime, Lenette and I are doing well living in a Senior Village called Revel.  Our apartment is a bit more than 800 sq. ft., located on the southwest corner of the 4th floor. It has a beautiful deck and views of the Mountains and the Ski area located directly west of us. 

We have been here since its opening about one and a half years now, and we’ve met some wonderful people. Interestingly, most come from back east and have moved to Reno to be close to their adult children and grandchildren.  

The facility we live in has a bar and large restaurant that serves all meals. All meals have a charge that is about equal to typical restaurant fare. We can have guests, although reservations are necessary, and wine and other alcoholic drinks are available.  

During the week, our relatively small gym is well used, but again and due to size, it’s essential to reserve a space. Also, we have small groups of people who meet with common backgrounds and enjoy sharing their stories, including an open discussion group that takes on various topics. We have both guest lecturers and residents with very interesting backgrounds who also speak. 

Management from top to bottom does an excellent job of seeing to our needs. All in all, we feel lucky that we’re here and sharing time and activities with others we enjoy.

Sy

My Thoughts on Aging

I’m compelled to write a paper having to do with “My” aging process. Maybe there’s a lesson for some others I stay in touch with and maybe not, but this is about me in any case.

I consider myself lucky. I will be 95 years young this coming December 5th.   I’m feeling fine; I still exercise, read, write, enjoy being with people, and am very aware that time is precious.  And that’s probably the main point I’ll try to make in this paper.

I have a sense of three very distinct parts to my life. That is what I’d like to share with you. The first is the present. It is where I live, spend much of my time, and try to be with each minute of the present. That means Listening as best I can to what others are saying. This is not easy since I wear earpieces, and the sounds in our dining room bounce off walls and resonate throughout the large room. I concentrate on what is said, not what I have to say. This is fine with me since I’ve spent a goodly portion of my life getting people to listen to me. So obviously, I’m learning Lots more about others and worrying less about what they learn from me.

The next important part of my life is my history. I DO NOT LIVE IN MY HISTORY but use it to explain the reasons behind my attitude and behavior towards most things in the present. I draw from my history as history and do my best to clarify that it is a resource I draw from, not to be confused with current events.  I consider myself blessed to have excellent recall, and I use this in my storytelling.

Finally, the day will come when it is our final day. We all have a diminishing future. It is important to maximize each moment, and I do. Whether with Lenette, friends, my cat (Mia), or reading, eating and enjoying our snuggly bed.  I fear not and know I’ve been blessed.  So have most of us.

Please don’t interpret this as a premonition of anything. I feel I’ll be around and hopefully remain creative for a good couple of years.  I’m still enjoying—so, why not?  

Sy

Life is an unknown———So let it come as it will————–Today is our day.

My rambling thoughts, Haiku style!

Writing my outlet———–Speaking used to be my style————–I found another way.

Getting old happens———-No avoiding it taking place————-What do you do then?

Challenge is a gift———push yourself to do it now———–Waiting is for what?

The world is changing———-but so are we and lucky———-Opportunity.

Exercise today———–tomorrow is its own day—————–If it comes to you.

Be here, be now too————-another time might come———-Maybe yes or no.

Dialogue is rare—————–When it happens enjoy it————-you may learn something?

Walk and breathe deep———-enjoy the day and what comes———–and does it matter?

I enjoy my life————-mostly I enjoy my wife———–she is why I live.

Her smile lights me up————just being with her is all————I ask nothing more.

Time is so precious————waste not one moment or day————–be all you can be.

There is more to say————-When I do it just comes out————–No plan, no intent.

Cal it “happening” —————no pressure to do anytime—————just feeling, it comes.

Hope you enjoy one or two.   Sy

The Benefits of Living in A Community Where Social Interaction Is A Daily Occurrence

Each evening we go to dinner and enjoy a meal with other residents. Either we are invited to join two other people, or we invite two people to join us. It is here at the dinner table each evening that we enjoy a wonderful few hour of conversation and the sharing of histories. Everyone has a story to tell, so sharing a table makes the telling of tales possible. 

The beauty of this is that we get to know each other. A bit of history, what we did for a living, where we grew up and bits about family. It is an enlightening experience to often be with people that have lived and continue to live interesting lives. Of course, this is not always the case, but the chance to meet interesting people is there and dining together is an easy way for this to happen.

It is also the case that some residents remain apart from the social opportunities. They may have family living within the area and spend their time with them. Their lives are lived apart from other residents and although family and friends are especially important the chance to make new friends at the trails end is no small thing. All of us need relationships beyond family and old friends if we are to continue to grow instead of just getting old. 

Growing old is an “attitude” as well as a “fact” As a “fact” what is there to discuss? As an “attitude” it is worthy of books upon books and discussion. Those that are old and give in to waiting for their last breath are to be pitied for a condition none can avoid. Those of us that continue to mix with others and, if able, read, write, and continue to exercise creativity are wise and thrive.

Life, whether limited by old age or other factors ought not be wasted. Opportunity to learn and to give back is restricted by our own behavior. A wonderful example took place a few nights ago.  We joined two others at a dinner table without reservations. Usually, people arrange being together over dinner in advance, but now and then we allow serendipity to do its thing.  We joined a lovely lady we have had dinner with many times and a gentleman we have not met before. 

As usual, it turned out to be full of wonderful dialogue between us and a lesson in history led by the gentleman. He is a new resident of our senior complex. We will find out more about him in the coming days, but during this first dinner together we discovered that he was born and lived his youth in Tennessee, worked in Washington in government and had something to do in later years with a University in Atlanta.

In any case, our conversation took us to the problems and division of our country today. He led the conversation and his knowledge of the subjects we discussed was impressive. Interestingly, he continues to write and research on the subjects we discussed. Two hours engaged and time flew by. We can hardly wait to continue being involved in an education experience. 

Need I express the importance of what accidentally took place, and does almost every day? We are surrounded by people with a variety of life experiences. All have a story to tell and will if given the opportunity which has to include people interested in learning and sharing.  Sy

Life offers so much————pay attention and receive————to learn is a gift.

The Way Things Are

A few general thoughts on the way things are:

It’s raining outside so our plans to do something outdoors has to wait for another time. And that’s the way our lives are lived. It’s too wet, too cold, snowing, too hot, or as is the case right now the winds are too stiff to be outside, unless that is, one likes being pushed around by unseen hands?

To be sure, there are lucky ones amongst us that have control over much of what they do. They have the freedom to make choices for themselves. They go to bed when they want and wake up to a day mostly of events of their own making. They have no job so they have no boss or at least obligations to fulfill. But they do have responsibilities. Most important having to take care of one’s self which includes keeping clean, eat, dress, read, keep one’s mind stimulated and most important is to keep and nurture relationships.

What I’m referring to is aging and If lucky we age well and if luckier still we age with an active mind and body. To be older without debilitating illness and limitations is no guarantee. So the cards are dealt and the wise senior plays them as best they can.  If blessed with good health and mind they do what they can to protect and extend these gifts for as long as possible.

In any case, aging is a challenge that all people have to deal with in time whether present or in the not too distant future. Present time could easily refer to people in their late sixties and seventies, or certainly with parents and older in-laws. On top of aging as a natural process and issue we find ourselves having to contend with the corona virus and the life and death challenges facing everyone.

For the younger generations the problem is huge beyond the illness. Consider being unemployed, no income, difficulty putting food on the table, paying the mortgage, rent and trying to meet so many others daily demands. And what of children and the impact this is having on them? It is much too early to know, but is it possible to turn this pandemic into a meaningful learning experience?  

How obvious that we are One World and One People. Yes, we speak different languages, eat different foods, have different belief systems and living environments, but how does anyone deny that we are all related? Somewhere deep in our past we began from the same roots. And as our numbers grew so did the need for other environments where survival seemed more likely. Humanity expanded into unknown territory and still has not stopped searching. For some, they never will whether for food and shelter or pure questioning of the unknown. I believe this drive will save the world. 

By the way, have you checked your ancestry lately?  Sy

Haikus:

My blood has a past——————-My roots somewhere in Africa————–We are family

Coronavirus————————-Avoid being too close now————This too will come/go

Living In Strange Times

We are living in times that we have not lived in before. Like you we know and have always had the freedom to do what we wanted and needed to do. This is different in so many ways. We see friends and do not touch each other where we used to kiss or a simple hug. We get phone calls checking up on our well being as we do to them. We do not shop as often or do so in different ways.. We are concerned, but do not see or feel panic. These days are simply different and we have no idea on how long this will last.

Thought about writing a brief paper and not sure of what will come of it. So where do I go from here?

I volunteered to do a brief workshop for the residents of our senior complex. The subject is Genuine Dialogue. Hopefully the number of participants will be limited so that questions can be asked by any and all and dialogue results. I’m a teacher so my goal is to bring a bit of awareness to my audience. If it works and people feel they have learned something about their significant relationships and how to make them work better we’ll do it again.   They will know and I’ll be informed. People will want more.

A bit of general information about us residents: We are a 55 year old and up living environment. About 125 apartments, one and two bedrooms, workout gym, heated salt water indoor pool, dining room, bar and lounge, meeting and game rooms and lovely to be grounds. Twenty four hour front desk concierge and bus service as needed. A variety of activities are scheduled each day, but people are on their own to join in or not. As an example Lenette and I are learning the game of bridge and play with guidance frequently. Great game!

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served and residents pay each month for a set number of points that are deducted based on the meals and food one eats. Lenette and I have breakfast and what lunch we eat in our apartment. We make it a point to have dinner in the dining room so we can and do get to know most of the other residents. Those we’ve met and spend time with are enjoyable and interesting individuals. We are developing into a caring group and the being there for each other is clearly taking place. 

Having built a number of communities Lenette and are intimately aware of the many difficulties common to the building, staffing,  training, organizing and operating a facility and to turn it into a community for the benefit of others. The challenge is clearly make what is built and staffed into the best human environment possible.  

Educated, professional or not people must be respected as the individuals they each are. This means that everyone involved contributes to what is best for everyone. And when I say individual I mean every resident and every employee. Sy

I live here and now————Tomorrow is its own day———–Promises wasted.

Let yesterday go————-The River of life takes it———-Not to be again. 

Settling in (January, 2020)

We are in the adjustment period. Still opening boxes and doing our best to turn 816 Sq.ft. into a comfortable living space. We fixed the 2ndbedroom into the best office we’ve had in years considering we operated in a closed room (our cellar) for 20 years. 

Our apt is on the fourth floor (top) south/west corner and has a magnificent unobstructed view of Mt. Rose and the Sierras. Our 2ndbedroom has been turned into the best office and view. Big picture window lights the room and delights us with Mountains and weather.. So that’s a very good thing. Having lived on the Truckee River across from a park is tough to replace, but our office setting and view makes a big contribution to our feeling at home. 

 One of our friends set us up with computer and related stuff. He’s a miracle worker when it comes to technology. Other friends gave us physical and emotional support. We have experienced remarkable love and a willingness to be there for us. As I wrote previously, we had to turn many away from helping us. This was an experience we had to mostly face ourselves. It’s not a happy one, but necessary for every human at some point in our lives; as Kurt Vonnegut wrote at the end of chapters in Slaughter House Five. “And so it goes.” Nuff said?

So we are moved, most boxes open and contents used, given away or thrown away. Our memories we have kept. They are established in our mind and heart. “Things,” as indicated, are mostly gone. Memories remain strong and will stay with us. 

Now it’s time for us to make ourselves as much at home as possible. It’s important to let the past reside and make the present the essential part of our lives. We can do that because we have done this numerous times. Working with people, creating and building, moving into the future once established in the present has been our way.

Change will occur and we will meet its challenges as we have in the past. Life’s experiences have made us what we became and who we are. This will not change.  Of course this is true for the lucky ones who do understand that it is experiences, and most we do not have control of and that influence who and what we become and are. 

This is a new experience for us in so many ways. It will push and shove us to adapt and if it is to our liking we will and if not we will make changes. We always have and we always will.

Haiku: 

Today, a new day————Who knows what it brings? No one!————–We play the hand dealt.

Sy

Our Move

The move is over, but not the unpacking of boxes.

This whole experience has tested us in ways that we will do just about anything to never have to do this again. Our advice is to begin the down-size process as soon as possible with no time limit and taking on one room and everything in it. We gave much away and threw lots away. Our history is now filled solely in our memory and the rest—-pictures, slides, movies, letters, etc., have been thrown away. A few albums (remember them) were wanted by others and we were thrilled to pass them on.  

We have been a bonanza to charities. Name it and we gave boxes filled with household-goods, clothes and things that they see as value and likely to sell. What amazes us is the number of people that shop in those stores. They were always crowded when I showed up with my SUV full of stuff for them. Hope that our “things” turned into money for their cause. Our favorite proved to be our local Animal Charity. 

At first it was traumatic parting with our years of history, letters, articles, books and things accumulated from around the world. Just the letters from staff and clients reached beyond 12 inches in file folders. Interesting that we began to realize we made a dent in the lives of many others and not because we wanted to make a dent, or be acknowledged for what we did, but simply through doing our job. We know that we always tried to do the best we could in any situation. 

We always believed we had remarkable people working with us. What creative and giving people they all were. Of course there were different degrees of talent, creativity and attributes. We tried to nurture them all not simply because they represented us, but much more importantly because of the relationships they would have with those they watched over, educated and cared for. 

So this has been a most unusual experience for us. It has been sad and testing for the most part, but also some very good feelings and lots of shared memories. It’s also probably impossible to avoid reviewing our history and we did. It helps to talk this stuff out and we did.

Also need to thank the many that wanted to help us. We turned the vast majority down because we felt it essential that we go through this experience as much by ourselves as possible. The few that we did let in to help did a magnificent job for us. In fact, we could not have gotten through this doing it all alone.   Being our age made it evident that regardless of our desires help was and is necessary. We got it in spades. 

So now a new chapter begins for us. We will do our best to live it as well as we lived our prior chapters. We know, as we have always known, that each day is precious and that living in the present is what we must do. One day at a time with the desire to live out many of them. 

We make this wish for each of you to live well and with love.        Sy & Lenette

Haiku: Time is our present———–It opens to us each day————-We are so grateful 

As usual, Sy is the eloquent one of the family.  I am so fortunate to have him in my corner.  This is a time of reflection and joy for the New Year and new experience.  Fond wishes to all!!!!

Changes

Tough paper to write because this is not about what I usually write about: 

 We’re moving to a Senior Living environment not too far from where we are, but we are leaving the river and that’s real difficult. We love where we have been for almost twenty years. Its beauty is so special. We’ve traveled the world and this place is at the very top of a living site. Right on the beautiful Truckee River, across from a park and when the trees drop all their leaves (after magnificent colors) the background becomes the Sierra Mountains. We’re so grateful to have lived here. 

Cleaning up, boxing, throwing stuff away, giving stuff away and just downsizing is a difficult task. It has to be done because we are moving to one/third the space. Not to forget that eventually we take nothing with us anyway. What we know is that memories are what we have and we consider ourselves so lucky to have lived both the good and bad of them all. We also know that “things” are just that and have to be gotten rid of. Not easy, but necessary and being done.

The changes we face are huge. Instead of our being on our own, just living our life and fulfilling our responsibilities we will have housekeepers clean our apartment weekly, three restaurants that serve us three meals a day and every possible amenity provided as part of living in this four story complex; also an indoor swimming pool, exercise area, movie theatre, gardens, transportation and more, much more. I guess we might compare this all to “resort living” where everything is provided? We will certainly be finding out.

The difficult decision had to be when to make this move. We certainly feel like we can continue living in our three story condo, but who knows what each day brings and so much better for us to make these decisions as we choose rather than wait for others and events to make them for us. In any case, the die is cast. This will all take place this coming December.

Apart from this move most things will remain as they are.  My writing papers is important to me and this will continue as long I believe I have something to say about Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Power and the absolute necessity for Dialogue. Our problems with each of these issues continue to grow. 

Technology, although becoming a necessity in our daily lives, does not appear to have made our relationships better; easier to be sure, but not necessarily better. Events and people tell me that communication remains “the problem to the answer.” Also, there is so much to learn if we are to control what we invent so that technology does not control us. We must control it. Only time will tell.

I’m clear about my intentions and that is to try to make relationships work between people. Dialogue and understanding is my goal and has been for all these many years. Our differences and contributions actually do make our world a better place. How do we not do our best to make it happen?     Sy

We are moving on———-We know where, but not its contents——–the book not yet read.Time is limited———–And the river keeps flowing———-Time waits for no one.